Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Too hard."

Swim lessons have taken a turn for the worse. We were doing well there for awhile... but that was quite possibly because we really weren't "doing", much of anything. There's a new instructor in the pool and Miss Katie is not one for coddling. Ella had the weekend off and was no doubt praying we'd forget about the next session of lessons altogether. Unfortunately for her, I did not - and Monday brought forth a whole new set of challenges. It seems Miss Katie actually wants her to learn to swim, which inevitably means complete immersion... and this is not something my daughter is the least bit interested in.

Her personality is becoming more and more evident these days... and there are a few key things that make her stand out.

#1) She must be prepared at all times. She always prefers routine, but if you're going to switch things up on her - she must know ahead of time if there is any hope of making it through a situation drama-free. (If there is such a thing). If we talk her through something that is going to happen - over and over again - it seems to make a world of difference to her.

#2) She is paralyzed without trust, and outgoing as can be with it. Last swimming session there were 4 instructors in the pool with her group. All of which she seemed to bond with. Suddenly 1 of them is replaced with another, who also happens to insist on pushing her in ways she doesn't want to be pushed... and we're back to square 1 complete with tears, excuses of needing more suntan lotion on, or band aids that "might come off if they get too wet".

#3) She is a fabulous bargainer. 5 bites of asparagus can be negotiated down to 1 PLUS a Popsicle, before we even knew what hit us.

I've reassured Miss Katie, that I completely support her desire to force Ella out of her box a bit... but I have to admit that watching my baby pulled completely under water, than brought to the surface, sobbing hysterically - look up at me and say "It's too hard, Mommy"... pretty much ripped my heart out. It's so hard to know where the line is between respecting their insecurities and pushing them to work past them. What's fascinating to me, is how some kids seem to be born with tremendous confidance, while others have so little. We had a little chat about why sometimes God (or Mommy), asks us to do things we really, really don't want to do, because it makes us stronger in the end. Her fine bargaining skills did their best to convince me that "when she gets a little bigger", she'll be able to do such things...

Here's to hoping she notices a growth spurt in the morning... because Miss Katie will be waiting on her tomorrow.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Posts Galore!!!

WooHoo! This could be my record!! Scroll down for post after post of long-awaited, nail-biting updates from the Johnson Family!!!


Does it even seem remotely possible that Claire will turn 2 in just 2 months??? What a crazy couple of years it has been! This little girl is the sweetest, funniest, most affectionate, headache you'll ever meet. :) I know without a doubt that the Lord sent this child to me to ensure that if I ever at any point thought that I had even a remote clue about parenting... I was wrong. I have been searching all over for the instruction manual that must have been misplaced upon her arrival... but it has yet to turn up.

First of all... Claire gives the best. hugs. ever. Truly. They are the sweetest. And not only that, but her timing - is usually impeccable. I've decided she's got to be one of the smartest toddlers I've ever met. Not because she can speak in full sentences (she can, but we can't understand a word of them)... but because she's figured out how to use affection to get herself out of trouble. Place the child in a time-out, and as soon as you go to get her out, she will (with solemn face), plant the most tender of kisses right on your lips. than throw her arms around your neck and squeeze for as long as you will let her. I'm quite certain she does this to avoid the lecture that inevitably follows, and I will admit she is successful on many occasions. I hold back giggles every time she solemnly mouths, "sorry Mommy", and then, yes, another hug.

Claire, unlike her big sister, has been sick a LOT. We discovered early on that she had a lactose intolerance (we originally thought is was a milk allergy)... and since then it seems it has been one thing after another. This past winter she came down with RSV and battled several ear infections. We finally had ear tubes placed a month ago, and not long after she contracted Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Once we finally got that out of her system, she somehow managed to pick up an awful intestinal virus that has taken us 2 weeks to beat. It's crazy to me how one child can have a super-human immune system, while the other catches every bug that blows her way. Poor Claire just can't catch a break. You know you've visited your Pediatrician too much when the receptionist recognizes your voice when you call to make an appointment. Claire's so used to visiting that the second they call her name, she runs through the door and jumps right up on the scale. *sigh* I'm hoping that a 2nd Birthday brings with it some physical maturity that helps her fight things off a little better. Now if we can just make it through the 2 year molars...

Here's a few shots of the little cherub who now answers to the name, "Trouble".

Summer Days

In spite of the illnesses that won't quit for Claire, we are having a really great summer. Maybe it's because we are coming out of the longest winter I have ever experienced, but I can honestly say I am enjoying each and every one of the little perks that summer brings. The workload with kids seems to be cut in half... mainly because it takes us about 15 minutes to get loaded up into the car instead of the usual 45 - just because we wear less clothes! And being outside is just an all around happier thing. :) I'm thinking we should pack up and move to a warmer climate - at least until our children can dress and entertain themselves.

She wasn't particularly thrilled about the idea, but Ella has been taking swimming lessons - and is definitely becoming more comfortable with the water. It did take a small bribe - I mean reward. Note the following picture with her long awaited Arial Princess Doll:

Grabbing candy at the 4th of July Parade!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ella's 3 Year Photos

I snagged a fabulous Groupon deal and had a great photographer take these shots for Ella's 3rd Birthday... as well as some Easter ones of the girls. Mommy even got caught in a few!


One of my favorite things these days, is watching the relationship between these two develop. They are so different in most ways... yet so alike in one... DRAMA. There is no doubt they are females! I even question whether or not they may have entered some rare and bizarre form of early PMS! Overall however, there is such a precious balance of personality between them. Ella is cautious, a rule-follower (most days), and prefers to read or watch movies. While Claire is impulsive, not-so-much a rule-follower, and can rarely be found sitting still unless a bag of chips is involved. Being so close in age, they seem to constantly compete for my attention - but it's amazing to me how in spite of that, they absolutely adore eachother. We anticipate several benefits to their relationship and personality differences... one being that Claire will likely play a key role in bringing Ella out of her shell throughout life, and another being that Ella will likely be the one we count on for the "inside scoop" on her sister's escapades.

It kills me that the days pass so quickly and they are growing so fast... and at the same time, I absolutely can't wait to see what life brings for them. And while we most definitely did NOT plan to have babies 16 months apart, I can honestly say now that I LOVE that we did. Such a neat thing for the two of them... I just hope and pray that they always feel that way.

Easter, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to Me!

Let's be honest here. There are days when this picture holds more truth than I care to admit... :) But in spite of how crazy it gets... I've never been happier... never felt more fulfilled... I love them to death. Thanks girls, for reminding me daily of the things that really matter in life. I love you more than you'll ever know.


Well, I did my best to keep it from happening... but in spite of all my efforts, Ella turned 3 years old a week ago (er... 3 months ago, when I started writing this post). It has been as they say... a fast and furious transition from toddler hood to "little girl".... emphasis on the "girl" part of that. :) She adores anything and everything pink, princessy, and fancy. She's been taking ballet for the last couple of months and loves every minute of it... (mostly because she gets to wear a tutu)! We cannot say for certain that the Joffrey Ballet School is in her future...but assuming we can soon convince her that the mirrors in her dance studio are meant to reflect her flawless pirouettes and plies, rather than the length of her tongue, I'd say her chances are pretty darn good!

Turning 3 brought many new freedoms and experiences... including her very own "big girl bed". I'm quite confidant that she would have stayed in her crib for another 6 years without ever considering the possibility of crawling out - but I do think she was gradually catching on to the suspicion that most kids her age were no longer being held against their will. While putting her to bed one night after a visit to some friend's who were already in their own real beds, she politely said: "Mommy, can you take these bars down?". Busted. The transition has been an easy one for her and more importantly, us. :) In fact, the poor, tentative, yet content child has yet to realize that she could actually come and go as she pleases... and continues to wait in her bed until we come to get her. (Case and point: yesterday during her nap she yelled: "Mommy, can you come get me out of this bed???") Here's to hoping that lasts throughout high school. ;-)

So Happy (VERY) Belated Birthday to my girly-girl. We're in no hurry - but somehow at the same time, we can't help wonder what you will one day become. I'm guessing you'll never be too fond of camping, or contact sports... but your sweet, sensitive spirit, love of art, reading, and baking... will undoubtedly lead you to do some wonderful things.

Post-Recital, with Grandma.

I have no idea where she gets it...

Yay! Princesses!!! (Can you see the reluctant joy in my face???)

Even Claire's getting in on the bowling action!

Easter Egg Hunt #3 with her cousins at the family birthday party!

Mommy was all excited for the "Fancy Nancy" birthday theme!..

Than she told me she wanted a Princess Party...

First Mani/Pedi!!

A fun girls outing with Grandma and Aunt Jenn!

Happy Birthday Ella! Your 1st Dollhouse!